Sunday, 22 June 2008

The wilder branches of the regulatory state

Large numbers of trees could be chopped down, damaging the appearance of cities and towns and reducing their contribution to absorbing carbon dioxide if the British Standards Institute have their way. They are developing new rules on tree safety which will require more frequent inspection of trees if those responsible for them are to ensure that they are covered by their insurance against negligence claims.

On average six people a year are killed by falling trees and individuals face a 1 in 10 million chance of becoming a victim. This rate is not increasing.

Rick Haythornthwaite, chair of the Risk and Regulation Advisory Council, said that the tough standard was being driven by 'risk entrepreneurs'. He said, 'The draft standards have been put together by a rather narrow group led by arboriculturalists and tree surgeons who stand to gain from its adoption, while the potentially enormous costs would have to be met by tree owners.'

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